The nutrition labels are a label necessary on virtually all packaged food sold in most countries, displaying what nutrients are in the food. Labels are generally based on government nutritional rating systems. These are updated regularly based upon statistical data collected from thousands of sources. Consumers use the information to aid them in making food purchasing decisions. The nutritional content is part of what we refer to as the “health & nutrition” tags on the packaging. Allowing customers to see this information and then comparing the item to a list of recommended daily allowances helps them make better food purchasing choices.
Health & nutrition labels come in two formats, representing the nutrient value in terms of calories concerning the recommended daily values. They are also referred to as nutrient profiles or nutrient profile indicators. The information is conveyed through relative density and is displayed as a percentage of the recommended daily values (DV or RDS).
The product information and nutrition facts are provided on both the front and back of the package. The front covers can display the caloric content and the nutrient content in grams. The back of the box shows the quantity of each nutrient, its percent of the daily value, and the nutrient’s name. Nutrient content information ranges from the percentage of calories, fat, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and potassium to the vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. Often there is a product specification that provides more detail about the nutrient content.
The nutritional information is essential to consumers as it helps them purchase food items that provide the maximum amount of nutrition for their daily needs. The labels often have a ranking system based upon the DV rating for each nutrient. This means one serving of a product that has a high DV is equivalent to either one or two servings of a product that has a lower DV. Also, one serving of a low-in DV product is equal to a serving of that product with a lower DV.
The FDA requires some nutritional information. Examples are the percentage of saturated fat, cholesterol, and the maximum daily amount of calories. Also, a serving size of one gram of protein is defined as one teaspoon. The serving size of one gram of fiber is equal to one tablespoon. Other nutritional information is not as detailed, and there is no limit on what servings of foods may be defined as serving sizes.
The Nutrition labels will list the percentage of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and fiber’s daily value. For saturated fat and trans fat, there is a maximum daily amount that can be contained. There are also definitions for the percentage of calories, carbohydrate, protein, and unsaturated fat. When these definitions are used, it is essential to keep in mind that the total amount of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and the daily value of carbohydrates may be lower than the product label.
On packaged foods, there are specific nutritional information labels required by the FDA. This information is included on the Nutrition Information label for products sold in grocery stores and markets. Many of the packaged foods that are sold in grocery stores are prepackaged. These are foods that have been purchased already and packed into a container. There are definitions for the number of servings, fat grams per serving, and the carbohydrate grams per serving.
Labels provide you with essential nutritional information. It is important to read nutrition labels before purchasing any type of food at the grocery store. By learning about nutrition labels, you can help yourself be healthy by making choices that will help you maintain your weight, reduce your risk of disease, and increase your life quality. You do not have to take every word on the nutrition labels, but by understanding what they mean, you can decide on the foods you purchase.